Boston High School: Ken Owen

Rockland's Kelliher leaving 'comfort zone'

March, 15, 2012
3/15/12
6:02
PM ET
Rockland athletic director Gary Graziano said he was impressed with each of the five candidates who were interviewed to become the school's varsity football coach, but one thing made Brian Kelliher stand out.

“He talked about watching Rockland's Super Bowl game in 1982 [a 14-12 loss to Dom Savio at Boston University],” Graziano explained. “I think he named six kids and still remembered their numbers.

“They were all really good candidates. It was a tough decision. Brian still bleeds Bulldog blue. He had all the qualifications we were looking for in a young football coach.”

Kelliher, 39, graduated from Rockland in 1990. He played quarterback and split end for the Bulldogs, and then continued his career as a safety as Western New England College. He spent the last four years as Hingham's defensive coordinator.

He will replace Ken Owen, who retired after 29 seasons as Rockland's head coach.

“I didn't know I was going to go for it right away because I have been so happy at Hingham,” Kelliher said. “I talked to a few friends and they told me to put my name in.

“I actually was very content. I loved the staff I was with, but the more I got into it I was like, 'Alright, this might be the one.' If there's one place I'm gonna leave Hingham for it's gonna be Rockland.”

Owen had a 193-106-5 record as Rockland's coach. He guided the Bulldogs to seven playoff berths and five Super Bowl appearances. The Bulldogs won three of those Super Bowls: against Attleboro in 1992, Gloucester in 1998 and Bishop Feehan in 2000.

Owen was Kelliher's coach for each of his three seasons on Rockland's varsity roster.

“He's a good friend, a good mentor,” Kelliher said. “We've spoken once [since Kelliher was hired] and we'll speak again in the near future to go over the groundwork and the lay of the land.”

Kelliher, who lives in Hanover, said Rockland will play a 4-3 defense and will be more varied on offense than recent Rockland teams.

“I still have to evaluate our personnel, but we'll incorporate the power running game principles and mix in some spread,” Kelliher said. “We're going to be a physical team, and we're gonna play with emotion and excitement."

Kelliher met with the Hingham players Wednesday and said he plans to meet with his new team next week. He made it clear he was not looking to leave Hingham for a head coaching job.

“This was the only job that I would have had interest in,” he said. “At some point you gotta leave a comfort zone for a new challenge.”

Rockland's Owen steps down as football coach

December, 24, 2011
12/24/11
2:12
PM ET
The Brockton Enterprise is reporting that long-time Rockland head football coach Ken Owen is retiring after 29 years as the Bulldogs' head coach.

Owen, 59, went 193-106-5 in his tenure with the Bulldogs, leading them to seven playoff appearances. Within that, the Bulldogs made five Super Bowl appearances, winning in 1992, 1998 and 2000.

“It’s something that was not an overnight decision,” Owen told the Enterprise's John Botelho. “You don’t make a decision like this without a few sleepless nights. There are a lot of reasons why you should go, and a lot of reasons why you should stay. Just have to trust a gut feeling that it’s time for a new voice in there."
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Football

What We Learned: Week 7

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
1:41
PM ET


It was a weekend of wild finishes and even wilder individual performances, and now we're trying to make sense of it all. Here's to the week that was...

TROJANS SHOW GRIT

Dan Buron’s Bridgewater-Raynham team might have been the only concerned parties who truly believed they had a chance to knock off Xaverian on Friday.

It had been a mixed bag so far for the Trojans (5-2) who prior to their 21-19 overtime win over the Hawks had yet to win a game over an opponent that had a winning record. B-R had also incurred losses to D-IIA powers Duxbury and Plymouth North.

But let Friday’s performance be a warning to all as to how dangerous the Trojans can be.

“I told them all week long, only the guys in this room, on this football field, think we have a shot and I said if you don’t think we have a shot don’t come out with me,” Buron told The Enterprise of Brockton. “I go out to win every game.

“I told them when we came out, if you play as a team, we’ve got a shot tonight. If you play as individuals, and run around, we won’t have a shot against this team.

However, like any good football coach, Buron also warded off any question as to what the win over Xaverian meant; it was just that, a win.

“It was just a great victory for the program, but it doesn’t mean anything because we start league play next week and win or lose it doesn’t mean a thing,” Buron went on to say in The Enterprise recap. “All it does is give us confidence. Hopefully, we can use this as a catalyst to get ready for the regular season (league play).”

The Trojans host Dartmouth on Friday in their first Old Colony League contest. B-R then welcomes Barnstable — which has already pocketed two league wins after slipping by Taunton over the weekend — in what should be a make-or-break game for the OCL’s playoff berth.

PANTHERS HAVE BITE

It’s not as though Holliston isn’t accustomed to putting large results on the board, but the Panthers simply looked a little more focused entering Friday night’s game at Norton.

“We had really good week of practice and it showed,” Holliston head coach Todd Kiley said after Friday’s 42-0 win.

That sentiment has particularly rung true with the Panthers since their Week 4 loss to Medway. Since then, Holliston has picked itself up by the boot straps. Following the 28-16 loss to the Mustangs, the Panther’s attack, which has averaged 42 points per game, has put results of 42, 50 and 42 points, respectively, on the board in the last three weeks.

So it’s clear the upset at the hands of Medway has been a motivating factor.

“If anything, it made us hungrier to want to get back to the top,” Panthers quarterback Sean Mayo told ESPN Boston’s Scott Barboza. “After being the TVL champs last year, we wanted to act like that tonight. We wanted to play well and we did.

“We just want to keep getting better, get back to the playoffs and go for another TVL championship.”

And with their win over the Lancers, Holliston has put itself back in position to do so as the top four Tri-Valley League teams now stand at 6-1 with the league playoffs set to kick off in two weeks.

Certainly, Norton would like another chance to prove they’re the TVL’s top team when it really counts.

A FEW GOOD BREAKS

The animosity between bordering rivals Abington and Rockland goes deep -- decades deep -- and so Rockland running back and captain Mike Driscoll recalled the back and forth with a half-dozen friends from a town over with delight, all week.

"This rivalry is unbelievable," Driscoll said. "We were all shooting texts back and forth all week, having fun with each other. To come out and see these guys, I feel...God goes out to them. They still have a shot, though."

The Bulldogs were more than happy to escape with a win, and take sole possession of first place in the South Shore League, with a 21-12 comeback win over their archrivals. Abington held the Bulldogs to minus-12 yards of offense on six plays in the first half, but could not solve them over the game's final 15 minutes, as Rockland exploded for 235 yards and 21 unanswered points.

With time winding down in the fourth quarter, Rockland's D.J. Austin threw a flare pass into the left flat that took a backwards skip, and Abington's Dylan Pietresak pounced on the loose ball and marched 50 yards to paydirt. However, the play had been blown dead at the spot of the incompletion. Local announcers Shawn Reilly and Kevin Whalen screamed in disagreeance with the call, and it didn't help that two plays later, backup quarterback Ricky Witt came in and promptly tossed the 52-yard game-winning bomb, a wide-open strike to Tim Fitzgerald.

Asked about the call, Rockland head coach Ken Owen channeled his inner Gregg Popovich.

"The referee blew it dead, OK?" Owen deadpanned. "Next question."

But let's not totally put this on the officiating. Holding a lead late in the fourth quarter, the Green Wave had some breakdowns in the secondary. And with time winding down and half of the field to go, they should have done a better job anticipating a deep strike.

MIDDIES IN FIFTH GEAR

Any questions about Dracut's capability to put points on the board have to be shunned at this point. Last Friday, the Middies traveled to Chelmsford to take on one of the area's best defenses and promptly hung 42 on them in a dominating win. Since starting the season 0-2, they've won five straight and averaged 41.9 points per game, including 60 over Billerica. The triggerman? Who else but Matt Silva, a scrawny 170-pounder whose violent running style often leaves him limping and bracing after games. But he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I want the ball in my hands at all times," Silva told ESPNBoston's Neil Carroll. "I’m the quarterback. If I make a mistake it's my fault, if I throw an interception it's my fault, if I get sacked it's my fault."

The Middies' defense, which is allowing nearly 27 points, remains a quandary. Only Tewksbury failed to score at least three touchdowns, in a 35-14 loss two weeks ago. A trip to Andover this week before meetings with Lawrence and Haverhill should give us a better idea of Dracut's ability in that area, before they head into their Thanksgiving matchup with Methuen, a team that has eaten run defenses alive at several points this season.

EAGLES ON PERCH FOR NOW

After dealing Falmouth its first loss of the season, 28-7, Plymouth North seized the moment, climbing to the top of the Atlantic Coast League.

However, things are still wide open.

“We have three league games left and every week you play for controlling your own destiny,” Eagles head coach Dwayne Follette told correspondent Brian Fabry on Friday. “We talked [last season's loss] up, but this was a big enough game that we didn't need the extra motivation.

While Plymouth North assumes the perch for now, the road to the ACL title will likely run through Dennis-Yarmouth, as both the Eagles and Clippers still have yet to play the Dolphins. Looking beyond the aforementioned, Marshfield (although they stand at 3-4 overall) also could still get in the fray, if they take care of business against Falmouth this weekend.

Additionally, Friday’s loss could prove a bit more costly for Falmouth if the injury to Clippers running back Nelson Baptiste, sustained during the upset against Plymouth North, has any long-term implications. That is a situation that also bears watching.

HEAD OF THE CLASS

VALVOLINE PEAK PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: BEN PATRICK, SR. RB, RIVERS
The Roxbury resident torched Milton Academy for 325 yards on 26 carries and six touchdowns, both school records, in a 69-40 shootout win Saturday night at Milton High School. Through five games, the 5-foot-9 senior has rushed for at least 200 yards in every game, and piled up 1,162 yards on 112 carries for an average of 10.3 yards a carry. With the performance, Patrick has now clinched 5-0 Rivers its first winning season since 1982. But with these kinds of performances each week from Patrick and his cousin Taariq Allen (718 yards of offense), the Red Wings are thinking NEPSAC Bowls.

THE CLASSMATES

Chris Coady, Jr. RB/LB, BB&N - The 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior carried 31 times for 284 yards in a 21-14 win over Groton School.

Brett Kidik, Sr. QB, Bishop Fenwick - In a record-setting day, Kidik threw for 389 yards and six touchdowns in the Crusaders' 44-40 win over Archbishop Williams.

Connor Reardon, Jr. RB, Littleton - Reardon carried the day for the Tigers, carrying the ball 23 times for 232 yards and four touchdowns in a 39-26 shootout win over Bay Path.

Oshane McCreath, Jr. RB, Malden - McCreath ran for 260 yards and four touchdowns in a 36-7 win over Cambridge that improved the Golden Tornadoes to 3-4.

Kyle Murray, Jr. RB, Mashpee - In a 41-12 win over Carver, Murray carved up the defense to the tune of 239 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.

Quinton Perkins, Jr. ATH, Fitchburg - The speedy junior showed off his wheels in a variety of ways in the Red Raiders' 38-19 win over Shrewsbury. Perkins accumulated 239 all-purpose yards and scored in four different ways -- running, receiving, passing and a fumble recovery.

Melquan Pinkney, Sr. RB, Springfield Putnam - Pinkney dominated Ludlow in a 46-6 win last Friday, totaling 270 yards and four touchdowns. Even more impressive, he racked up 192 yards on five carries in the first quarter.

Mike Ozella, Sr. RB, Medway - Ozella turned in another strong performance for the Mustangs, rushing for 207 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-6 win over Hopkinton.

Matt Silva, Sr. QB, Dracut - The tough-minded senior would not be stopped in Friday's 42-21 win over Chelmsford, completig 12 of 19 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns, and carrying 13 times for 100 yards and two more scores.

Ben Ticknor, Sr. RB, Milton Academy - Ticknor was strong in his own right in the Mustangs' 69-40 loss to Rivers, carrying 21 times for 341 yards and five touchdowns, including a run of 94 yards.

Rockland 'D' bends, breaks Abington

October, 23, 2010
10/23/10
1:56
AM ET



ABINGTON, Mass. -- By now, Rockland's Brian Harrington is accustomed to the routine on what was supposed to be a routine run up the middle, an inside power designed for him lead block for 220-pound running back Mike Driscoll and let him do what he does best -- plow through defenders. But when somebody's helmet popped the ball loose for Abington, the 6-foot-2 senior instinctively bent over and scooped it up, marching 83 yards to paydirt down the right sideline, unscathed by Abington jerseys.

"Somebody dove at my legs, and I don't know what I did," Harrington smiled sheepishly. "I must have jumped or something, he just missed me. I saw open field in front of me, so just take off was my first instinct. Luckily, no one caught me and I put six on the board."

And just like that, it was a whole new ball game. The Bulldogs were held to minus-12 yards of offense on six plays in the first half, and faced a 12-0 deficit late in the third quarter at the time of the fumblerooski. But Harrington's pseudo scoop-and-score breathed new life back into the Bulldogs, who exploded for 235 yards of offense in the second half and scored 21 unanswered points over the final 15 minutes to down neighboring rival Abington, 21-12, snap the Green Wave's 34-game home win streak, and move to 7-0 and sole possession of first place in the South Shore League.

"Oh man, it just changed the whole game," said Driscoll, who also blocked a field goal to end the first half and plunged in for the game's final score with 1:42 left. "Brian scooped it up from me, he took it down the sideline, and luckily they touched it and we got to go (downfield). Just a hell of a play by Brian."

The reversal of fortune couldn't have come at a better time. Rockland was held to minus-12 yards of offense on just six plays in the first half, and couldn't shake loose the outside pressure from Abington (6-1), especially defensive end Ryan Southerland and linebacker Christian Barrett. When Barrett slammed quarterback D.J. Austin to the ground on an incomplete third-down pass on the Bulldogs' opening drive, the senior signal-caller limped off to the sidelines favoring his right shoulder.

When Austin returned on the next drive -- some nine minutes after a Green Wave scoring drive, set up with a 12-yard quick slant from Zach Littman to Pat Zadrosny, and capped by a three-yard John Lane plunge -- he was promptly dropped again, this time on a corner blitz from James Cunningham. Abington, behind Littman's darting short passes and elusive dashes up the middle from Lane and Dylan Pietrasik, put up 156 yards of offense and controlled the ball for almost all of the first half.

The halftime talk, you might say, was rousing ("They got on our case," Driscoll said).

"I'll tell you where it was decided," Rockland head coach Ken Owen said. "We go into the half, we're only down 6-0. The way we played in the first half, they stumped us in everything we did on offense. To go in only down 6-0 at halftime gave us a little lift in terms of reorganizing ourselves and getting ourselves squared away for the second half."

From there, the Bulldogs looked like a more disciplined defense. Their four-man front gave Littman less time to throw, and clogged the middle of the field. Following Harrington's momentous return, which made it 12-7 Abington at the time, the Bulldogs came up with another big stand to give them the ball with less than five minutes to go.

Rockland avoided a big scare when an incomplete pass that appeared to be thrown backwards, and was picked up by Green Wave defender, was whistled dead. Several plays later, junior Ricky Witt came in and threw his lone pass attempt of the night, but arguably the biggest. Witt found Tim Fitzgerald wide open in perfect stride in the right seam, and delivered a perfect strike that the senior marched in for a 52-yard score.

Abington fumbled the ball away on the first play of its next possession, pounced on by Devyn Flipp, and Driscoll added the finishing touches a minute later with a short dive across the goal line with less than two minutes left.

ROCKLAND 21, ABINGTON 12

R 0 0 7 14 --- 21
A 0 6 6 0 --- 12

Second Quarter
A - John Lane 3 run (rush failed)

Third Quarter
A - Lane 3 run (rush failed)
R - Brian Harrington 83 fumble recovery (Ricky Witt kick)

Fourth Quarter
R - Tim Fitzgerald 52 pass from Witt (Jason Hall run)
R - Mike Driscoll 2 run (run failed)

The view from Rockland

October, 21, 2010
10/21/10
7:31
PM ET
Scott Barboza and Neil Carroll stopped by practice at Rockland High this afternoon to catch up with the 6-0 Bulldogs, who were preparing for Friday's crucial South Shore League bout with border rival Abington.

Running back Tim Fitzgerald broke down the keys to victory:



Lineman Steve Gardner looked at the matchup in the trenches:



Head coach Ken Owen talked about how his team is focused on the task at hand:

Rockland survives battle of SSL unbeatens

October, 16, 2010
10/16/10
2:17
AM ET


COHASSET, Mass. – Mike Driscoll was strewn out across the field with the crown of his helmet touching the goal line, his facemask planted into the turf. It was as though the air had slowly been let out of a balloon.

It was only the second quarter, but with Friday night’s South Shore League duel of unbeatens between Driscoll’s Rockland Bulldogs and the Cohasset Skippers shaping up to be a low-scoring struggle, he knew failing to get in on the two-point play could be costly.

“I was hoping it wasn’t going to come down to that. Thankfully, our kicker, Ricky Witt, put that kick through.”

Down 8-6 at halftime, after Driscoll fell an inch short of tying the game in the second quarter, the Bulldogs emerged from the locker room refocused and intent on taking it to the Skippers. Rockland embarked on an Odyssean 15-play drive that spanned nearly eight minutes of the third quarter, led by the bruising runs and blocks of Driscoll.

The result of that drive — a 20-yard field goal by Ricky Witt — coupled with Driscoll’s 117 yards on 23 carries and the persistence of Rockland’s defensive front would make the difference in the Bulldogs’ 9-8 win to remain undefeated at 6-0 and 3-0 in the South Shore.

“I have to give the kids a lot of credit for overcoming a lot of early mistakes in the first half,” Rockland head coach Ken Owen said. “We were only down two points at halftime and I think we felt fortunate to be in that situation the way we played early.

“We kept telling our kicker Ricky Witt that [he was] going to have to win a game for us, whether it be in overtime, It happened to be earlier in the game here, but I credit him for putting the ball through the uprights on a windy night.”

The Bulldogs had great field position to start the game, after Cohasset (5-1, 2-1) fumbled on the opening kickoff. Rockland’s offense took over at the Skippers’ 23-yard line. The Bulldogs were poised to score before Cohasset defensive lineman Kyrel Jaundoo scooped up a fumble by Bulldogs running back Tim Fitzgerald (13 carries, 53 yards) at the Skippers’ 3-yard line and returned it 61 yards to set up his team with good field position.

Three plays later, Thomas Flibotte (18 carries, 91 yards) hit paydirt on a 3-yard run. The following two-point try was successful with quarterback Jeff Cavanaro (8 of 14, 75 yards) hitting Robbie Mahoney in the end zone.

Rockland continued to be their worst enemy on the ensuing drive when Driscoll fumbled the ball into the hands of junior linebacker Sean McKenna.

However, the ensuing Cohasset drive stalled when the defensive struggle between the two teams began in earnest. Three times the Skippers were stopped with a yard-to-go and Rockland regained the ball via a turnover on downs.

The teams traded punts before Rockland gained its first legitimate offensive traction of the game. Driscoll capped a 17-play, 78-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. But his two-point conversion run fell short.

“We killed ourselves in the first half, we killed ourselves with two fumbles, both me and Timmy [Fitzgerald],” Driscoll said. “We messed up, but you can’t do anything about those. But, as we say, halftime is not our enemy, so we just came out in the second half and mowed them.”

It was then the Bulldogs made their game-changing charge with Witt’s kick proving the difference.

Then, it was just a matter of not giving the Skippers anything back.

“Our defensive interior and, in particular, Steven Copeland, they just had a great, great second half,” Owen said. “Of course, Brian Harrington plays well at defensive end, he had some nice stops on them, too. We were able to put a little bit of pressure on the quarterback and on the bootleg in the second half and I think that helped us in our pass coverage.”

Having survived another week unscathed, Rockland has the pleasure of looking forward to yet another matchup next week with an undefeated team atop of the South Shore standings — Abington.

“We knew it was going to come down to Abington and one of us,” Driscoll said. “Now, next week, we have the two of us.”

Rockland 0 6 3 0 -- 9
Cohasset 8 0 0 0 -- 8

1st quarter
Cohasset Thomas Flibotte 3-yard run (Robbie Mahoney pass from Jeff Cavanaro)

2nd quarter
Rockland Mike Driscoll 6-yard run (rush failed)

3rd quarter
Rockland Ricky Witt 20-yard field goal

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